January 2012 Report

I’m very excited to report that January 2012 was my first profitable month.  I made $1.20 on Amazon.com commissions.  Another $2.41 from AdSense.  Since I had no expenses in January, that makes $3.61 net income.  At this pace, I should cover my initial costs in about 30 years.  Maybe it’s a pride thing, but I’m not going to report an income statement showing $3.61 in net income.

Above are my stats: 223 visits and 1,105 page views.  Viewers look at 5 pages/visit (I’ll be generous and round up from 4.96), and spend 4 minutes and 22 seconds average time on site.  Bounce rate is a very low 4.93%.  Judging from these numbers, I am meeting my primary goal right now of producing quality content.  I now have 106 posts.

Most impressive is the You Tube video, How I set up my online business in GnuCash.  627 hits so far.  283 in the last month.  Also very popular is How to record a payment in GnuCash, with 246 hits so far, 189 in the last month.

I moved the site from Blogger to WordPress.com.  The newly designed website looks much more inviting and should attract more traffic.

WordPress.com only allows advertising on high- and medium-traffic sites  For now, I’m giving up the $3.61 in monthly income, in the hopes that my better-looking site on WordPress.com will attract such a huge audience that WordPress.com will let me advertise.  The real monetization should come with selling ebooks and courses.

I’m working on a new index page, which will include every post.

Thanks for following me.  Any other ideas or suggestions?

About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.

7 Responses to “January 2012 Report”

  1. There’s a dearth of serious accounting information for gamers (e.g. Eve). Your videos and examples in Google Docs were very clear, simple, easy-to-follow and authoritative, but gamers have a slightly different emphasis – they’re less concerned with taxation, for example.

    I dunno if that’s a segment that you’d be interested in producing videos or e-books targetting.

    • Thanks for the message. You’ll have to forgive me, but until now I didn’t know what Eve was. Looks cool, like a simulated free market economy. How do you think accounting would benefit Eve users? I’m sure the game keeps track of players’ balances of currency, inventory, etc. How could players benefit from keeping more detailed records?


      • You’re right, the game keeps track, but the level of detail quickly gets difficult to manage. Players probably would not want to keep more detailed records, they would want less detailed records.

        Management accounting might answer questions like: Which of these activities was the most profitable use of my time? If taking a ship out into nullsec is always a gamble, how can I use Kelly bet sizing to pick how much of my total capital to invest in a ship? What level of insurance should I buy?

        How can I quickly put a price on a large bundle of items, without laboriously putting a price on each individual item – can I use random sampling to only price a small fraction of them?

        If my group, for its own purposes, accumulates inventory in various raw, processed, and finished forms, how can I put buy and sell orders on the open market to act as a market maker and make some profit out of our spare liquidity, without impairing our purposes too much?

      • Very interesting. I don’t know Eve well enough to have specific answers for you. However, off the top of my head, I can think of two ways that you can use accounting to gain an advantage:

        1. Assemble enough data to do some statistical analysis. Collect information about individual transactions and deals in a spreadsheet, and then use simple regression analysis to estimate their models. Programmers internally work these into Eve – the program is designed to give you certain results, +/- a random factor. If you play long enough, and collect enough data, you can use that to estimate Eve’s models, and better predict the outcomes of different decisions. (Again, I have never played Eve, or even with another simulation like this, but this should work.) Data mining might also work, but I don’t know how you would ever get enough data to do it.

        2. Design ratios and benchmarks to improve decision-making. For example, (and again, I know nothing about gaming, so you’ll have to excuse my terminology), if you want to know the most profitable use of your time, set up some kind of productivity ratio: dividing output by input. Here, it would be the income divided by (I guess) the amount of time needed? I imagine a better ratio would be project income divided by investment. Perhaps your denominator depends on whatever your constrained resource is – time or investment? Then divide the total by the number of periods. That would be kind of crude. Better yet would be a capital projects decision, using present-value techniques.

        In short, if Eve was designed to emulate real markets, then statistical analysis could help you crack the code to estimate how the markets work. Managerial accounting tools, like productivity ratios and capital expenditure decisions, could also improve decision-making.

        This is why I blog – to come up with this kind of neat stuff. Please let me know if you want to pursue this further, I’d enjoy working on it.

      • Thanks for the keywords, I will have to look into them.

        It’s not much like a simulation game (It sounds like you’re familiar with them maybe from Capsim or BTS). Almost all of the time when you’re buying and selling, you’re exchanging with another player. Aside from that realism, data mining would not be that hard – there’s a journal API that can drown you in data pretty readily. http://community.eveonline.com/api/doc/data-account.asp

        I’m trying to set up books for my organization based on your spreadsheet.
        As practice, I tried to set up a simple “Buy raw ore, refine it, and sell the refined mineral” set of books here:
        There’s only three planned kinds of journal entries, purchases, refining, and sales. I think there’s something wrong with it, partly because each store of value (pile of stuff) ought to have two numbers, one representing its count (or volume) and one representing its value (or you could use volume and price, or value and price, anyway it is two numbers). Maybe something like this would be better?
        But that one doesn’t include cash.

        Could you tell me what keywords lead to the standard way of dealing with that two-summary-value issue in accounting?

        Eventually, we’d like to act as a market maker at each of the intermediate steps (indexing goods by location is annoying, but transportation costs are huge). That is, I ought to be able to provide buy and sell prices on the intermediate steps that incorporate our internal intended use so that we can sell some liquidity to the market while still generally operating the supply chain for my group’s internal demand.

      • If you’re trying to track inventory, a spreadsheet like mine is going to quickly get unwieldy. The problem is exactly as you say – there are two variables to track for each lot – cost and volume. This will be further complicated when you sell a few units, and have several different lots on hand to choose from, each with a different cost, how much did that particular lot cost? You’ll need to make LIFO, FIFO and weighted average assumptions.

        In addition to the multiple locations, are there many different products?

        I was talking to an economist friend about this – maybe there is open-source market-maker software?

      • John, this looks like serious overkill (but it’s free):



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